Anyone who has ever taken an extended road trip can tell you that sometimes it’s a real challenge to find the local best amidst the forest of national chain restaurants. But to enjoy an insider’s look at the finest food, brew and wine of offer while indulging in a little Colorado travel there is a relatively easy solution: a detour to one of the state’s many annual festivals devoted to same. So let the calendar and your vacation schedule steer your palate - your taste buds will thank you, truly.
Though the calendar of big culinary events is a little spartan during the holiday season and into early spring, by May Colorado is awhirl with wine tastings and craft brew fests. Though the Spring Barrel Tasting in Grand Junction isn’t until middle of the month, you can fill the intervening weeks patronizing events like the Taste of Vail and Downtown Boulder’s Taste of Pearl or assess the talents of Denver’s top female chefs at Womencook! Dining for a Difference. Come June and the hardship is settling on where to go next. Between the Manitou Springs Wine Festival, the Taste of Ouray, the Rocky Mountain Brewfest, Aspen’s Food & Wine Classic and the Colorado Winefest you could book most weekends solid. Not to suggest that the pace falls off in July and August, either. From the Palisade Peach Festival and the Castle Rock Wine Fest to the Mesa Verde Country Wine and Art Festival you’ll be hard pressed to go hungry (or thirsty).
Come September, the state’s largest wine festival, Colorado Wine Fest, kicks off in Palisade , one of the best places to sample the finest wine some 50 wineries have to offer. Even if you miss this big event, there are other ways to welcome in autumn, like Downtown Boulder’s Fall Festival, Gateway Canyons’ BBQ and Blues Festival or the annual Culinary Arts, Wine and Brewfest in Glenwood. Several Colorado destinations also host lively Oktoberfest celebrations, drindl and lederhosen optional.
Even if your Colorado travel focus is the ski slopes or a stretch of white water, we advise taking the time to feed body and soul at some lively local food and wine oriented festival. You’ll thank yourself later.